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Government proposes new adult safeguarding power
Date of article: 13-Jul-12
Article By: Sue Learner, News Editor
The Government has proposed a new legal and policy framework to protect adults at risk of abuse and neglect.
The new draft Care and Support Bill out this week includes a proposed duty on local authorities to make enquiries where there is a safeguarding concern.
It states that local authorities “must make (or cause to be made) whatever enquiries it thinks necessary to enable it to decide whether any action should be taken.”
The Department of Health has launched a consultation on whether or not there should be a new power to support this duty.
This would enable the local authority to apply for a warrant so they could enter the building and speak to someone who they think could be at risk of abuse and neglect, in order to find out whether they are making their decisions freely.
In the Law Commission’s review of adult social care law in 2011, it recommended that the statute should not include any new compulsory or emergency powers, unless the Government identified the need for such powers.
The Law Commission recommended placing a duty on local social services authorities to investigate or make enquiries about adult protection concerns.
The consultation document states: ‘We do not want to intervene in people’s lives unnecessarily. However, we are aware of the strong feeling from some that a specific power of entry in the circumstances set out in this consultation could give an opportunity to offer timely information and advice, and ensure that people who are unable or unwilling to ask for help can have their voices heard.’
The consultation runs till 12 October 2012.
The consultation can be found at www.dh.gov.uk/health/2012/07/safeguardingadults/